Yechimovich: ‘Someone Suppressed Data’ on Leviathan Gas Shortfall

The Israeli Tamar gas processing rig off the coast of Ashkelon. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
The Israeli Tamar gas processing rig off the coast of Ashkelon. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The government, in conjunction with its licensees, pulled the wool over the eyes of Israelis in order to make a bad deal on exporting gas from the Leviathan natural gas field, Zionist Camp MK Shelly Yechimovich said in an interview with Army Radio Monday. That is her interpretation of data that claims that the amount of gas in the field is more than 20 percent lower than originally thought – and upon which the framework of the gas deal for exporting the gas was based.

“Apparently we were being cheated, because all the time we heard about how there were 620 BCM (billion cubic meters) of gas out there, but now after two professional reports we find out that there are only 500 BCM there. Someone had an interest in suppressing that information and allowing the process of approval of the framework based on that false information to proceed.

“The main issue here is that the amount the gas companies are allowed to export according to the framework is based on the amount of gas in the field,” Yechimovich said. “That information we now see is incorrect. If this were an isolated screw-up by a government that was handling this in a marvelous manner, we could excuse it, but this is just part of an ocean of incorrect data, contradictions in policy, and a lack of transparency. We see a clear policy of attempting to hide the information. We have to fight to get every piece of data and every document, and even then it arrives redacted.”

Shaul Meridor, director general of the Energy Ministry, said that the new reports that lower the estimate of how much gas is in the Leviathan field is “irrelevant. It has no impact at all on our policy. This information has been known for over a week. If, as Yechimovich says, the government was actively hiding the data, “then I am to blame.”

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